Empty shops and other vacant premises can provide artists and arts organisations with much needed incubation space to test and develop business or project ideas.
Negotiating the temporary use of empty buildings
If you identify an empty building you can try to talk directly to the owner to negotiate temporary occupancy. But please be mindful to fully cost your project and location taking into consideration all the issues below before entering into any formal agreement.
Business rates relief
If you are a charity you will automatically receive an 80% reduction in rates. The Council also has discretion to give 20% business rates relief to non-profit making organisations but this is not guaranteed. If you are a small business you may be able to get a reduction on your business rates bill.
To apply for discretionary rates relief email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Depending upon the activity you intend to carry out in the property you may need to consider taking out public liability, contents and employer’s liability insurance.
Be sure to factor in the costs of services such as water, electricity, gas and internet and any service charges incorporated within the lease and of course rental.
Planning permission and licences
It is important to know the 'use class' the building is registered as in case you need a change of use planning application in order to undertake your proposed activity at the location. You will also need to consider whether you require entertainment or alcohol licensing or a temporary event notice (TENs) for a one-off event.
Businesses wishing to put items on the pavement such as tables, chairs or A-boards may also need a licence from the Council and those that provide food and drink to the public will need to register with Islington's Environmental Health Service.
Everything you need to know about business rates in Islington - from paying your bill online to querying the amount you are charged
Meanwhile Space resources
A website with useful advice and resources for artists and arts groups looking for temporary vacant space
Culture on the High Street
A key publication illustrating the potential of arts and culture to transform the High Street offer with useful case studies of recent projects across the capital
We Are Pop Up
An online listing of pop-up spaces in London